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tv   John King USA  CNN  April 8, 2010 7:00pm-8:00pm EDT

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tweets at wolfblitzercnn all one word. thanks very much for joining us. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." up next, "john king usa." it starts right now. we're expecting important new developments at the scene of that west virginia mine explosion. we've heard precious little since search crews were ordered out of the mine this morning because of unsafe conditions. now officials have announced they'll hold a news conference during this hour to let us know if and when the rescue operation can resume. we will take you live to west virginia as soon as they start. diplomatic immunity is a term you hear more in the movies than in real life. the more we learn about an incident on a united airlines flight with washington to denver last night, the more it sounds like bad fiction, except it isn't. a diplomat apparently decided the rules didn't apply to him despite what the flight attendants said and the signs in the bathroom say, he decided it
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was okay for him to have a cigarette. to make matters worse, when confronted, law enforcement sources say the diplomat made an offhand joke that included a reference to a shoe bomb. not funny. fighter jets were scrambled. denver and other airports were put on alert. in a moment we'll show you how all this played out and how you will probably end up paying for it. mohammed al madadi has diplomatic immunity. it was all a misunderstanding. now add this in. he was flying west to visit a man in prison for conspiring to support terrorism. he was convicted of being an al qaeda sleeper cell and doing research on poisonous gases. they say it was a routine visit to check in on one of his citizens and embassies all around the world do that. fair enough. one would think an arab diplomat and on his way to visit an convicted terrorist would know better than to illegally smoke on a plane and then in post-9/11
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america make a joke about a shoe bomb. one would think. there is, though, a happy ending. with a nudge from the state department, the qatari embassy has decided it is best to send al madadi home. not soon enough. 76 hours and still waiting. the families of four west virginia miners still unaccounted for hope to learn this hour that rescue teams have been cleared to resume their search efforts. those teams went into the upper big branch mine this morning but had to pull out unfortunately because levels of toxic gases were still too high. the explosion took place at 3:00 p.m. monday. 25 miners are confirmed dead, but the families of the four still unaccounted for have been waiting anxiously more than three days now. >> it's a roller coaster for these people. it's very emotional. you can only imagine what it would be like. >> officials hope to be able to resume the search this hour and cnn's brian todd is standing by as we wait for the latest
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update. brian. >> reporter: john, we are at a very critical point in this operation. the next few hours will be very, very important. you mentioned within the next half hour we'll get information as to whether those rescue teams have been able to reenter this mine and resume their search for the missing miners. but in the coming hours, overnight and into tomorrow, it's going to be very, very tense around here. the families are going to be just very intensely waiting for word about whether their loved ones have been found and what their condition is. they have got several thousand feet to go inside the mine. they're progressing tonight as we speak. and we're going to learn more information as to whether the dangerous gas levels in the mine have been lowered enough to let those rescue teams advance on foot. it has been a very slow process, a very excruciating process. these next several hours and into tomorrow morning are very critical and we hope to learn more just in the next few minutes as to whether they have been able to progress inside the mine or not. >> brian todd for us. we'll get back to brian and the rest of our team as soon as
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developments warrant. we know the tea party movement is a vocal protest movement. its activists mostly opposed the democratic health care plan but weren't able to pressure enough members of congress to vote no. the tea party movement vows to be heard this november in the elections. one prominent target is congressman bart stupak. he's an anti-abortion democrat whose deal with the white house helped get health care to the finish line. stupak told us his efforts will keep federal money from paying for abortions. >> those tea party folks know that. i wish they'd take a close look at the positive aspects of this health care legislation. when they do, i think they'll see we've had some great consumer protection. we keep people from filing bankruptcy, we provide quality, affordable access to health care. i think when they look at it and everything calms down a little bit, i bet by the time we're back here in two, two and a half weeks, things will calm down. >> but things are anything but calm in stupak's michigan district tonight. dana bash is there as the tea party express rolls through.
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hi, dana. >> reporter: hi there, john. well, we expect the tea party express to be here later this half hour, exactly a half an hour from now. what you see behind me is an opening prayer so i'm speaking quietly as they begin the festivities, which will happen momentarily, in the first of five rallies that the tea party organizers are holding in bart stupak's district. in talking to people here in this sprawling upper peninsula of michigan as we have, that bart stupak represents, it's pretty clear that this is actually ripe for the tea party message. a lot of people here are anti-government, are very worried about high taxes, very worried about high spending. but unlike other democrats that the tea party is targeting, he certainly has not been vulnerable. bart stupak has represented this district for 18 years. he has won by huge margins, 65 and 70%. one thing that's interesting is he is facing some of the same issues other incoumbents are ths year. he's really getting squeezed. he's not only got this right
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that is trying to get him and very upset about the abortion issue, he also has a democrat from the left challenging him in the democratic party, so he definitely has the squeeze we see across the nation. we have something else that we're watching here and that is bart stupak has not even said whether he will run for office again. we're waiting to see whether or not he'll do that. so all of this could be for naught. they said they want to force him into retirement. bart stupak may do that on his own. >> we'll check with you a little later, thanks. president obama and his russian counterpart signed a major true treaty aimed at making deep cuts in the arsenals of the two biggest powers. it was in prague and he held the agreement in reducing nuclear weapons worldwide and a big step showing u.s./russian relations are on an upswing. that last thing could face a test. ed henry takes us inside prague's critical private diplomacy. hey, ed.
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>> reporter: well, john, you're right. we saw what happened in public but we're learning new information about what happened behind closed doors. there were two meetings scheduled back-to-back, one with just the two presidents and then there was going to be an expanded meeting after that with other officials, like secretary of state hillary clinton. all of that was budgeted for about 90 minutes total, both meetings. but we're told by senior u.s. officials that the first meeting, just the two presidents all alone today, lasted about 90 minutes on its own and that's because the substance of what happened is they really started getting into details of potential new u.n. sanctions against iran to try to stop its nuclear ambitions. they actually started talking about details of a new u.n. resolution. that's significant as well because another potential hurdle that's coming up is that next week president obama is meeting with the chinese president in washington. when he comes to town for a big nuclear security summit. they're hoping some momentum with these talks with the russian president, getting them potentially to support sanctions, could help move things along with the chinese, john. >> ed, as we watch for that
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summit next week, there's also breaking news tonight that one world leader expected at that summit will not be coming. fill us in. >> reporter: that's right. a senior u.s. official telling me tonight, john, that the israeli prime minister, benjamin netanyahu has informed the u.s. after initially suggesting he would come, he's now not coming. the bottom line is this u.s. official is stressing to me that various governments, about 47 in all, are not sending the head of state so this is not completely unusual. but you know that given the tense relations between the u.s. and israel recently, this is only going to fuel more speculation about that relationship. also may raise some questions about really how influential this summit that president obama is hosting next week will be if you don't have the israeli prime minister there, given all of the influence in the mideast there, john. >> ed henry tonight for us in prague. thanks, ed. more high-powered witnesses as the panel on the financial meltdown turned its attention to wall street. one opened his testimony with an apology. >> let me start by saying i'm
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sorry. i'm sorry that the financial crisis has had such a devastating exact on our country. i'm sorry for the millions of people, average americans, who have lost their homes. and i'm sorry that our management team, starting with me, like so many others, could not see the unprecedented market collapse that lay before us. >> another former top citigroup hand better known in washington and probably better known to you, robert rubin, stopped short of sorry. >> almost all of us, including me, who were involved in the financial system, that is to say financial firms, regulators, rating agencies, analysts and commentators, missed the powerful combination of factors that led to this crisis and the serious possibility of a massive crisis. we all bear responsibility for not recognizing this and i
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regret that. >> two key members of the inquiry panel made clear they were less than thrilled with rubin's testimony. >> i don't know that you can have it two ways. you were either pulling the levers or asleep at the switch. >> what do you get paid for if it isn't having some intuition, understanding, knowledge. >> national political correspondent jesse yellin is here with today's biggest lesson. >> reporter: lesson, if you want to make commissioners like these happy, apologize. robert rubin didn't. repeatedly he was asked why he allowed a company that he advised to sink billions into bad subprime mortgages which helped fuel the meltdown. he made the case that monitoring $40 billion in subprime mortgages was below his pay grade at a company that did a trillion dollars of business a day. he got defensive, pointing out much of the industry failed to see a crisis coming and he said he actually thought companies' checks and balances worked. now he dpits they didn't. tomorrow we'll get more information about what led to the housing bubble and what
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caused the government to pour tens of millions of dollars into the nation's largest mortgage providers. >> critical issues as well. stocks fell but things turned up and investors got a look at some upbeat reports from the nation's retailers. the dow industrials finished almost 30 points higher. 460,000 people filed unemployment claims last week. let's head over to the magic wall to get a sense of what's still to come in the program tonight. when we come back, we'll show you about the case of what we'll call the very expensive cigarette. an arab diplomat gets on a plane, decides he can light up. it causes briefly a terrorism scare. we'll take you inside that. our most important person tonight that you don't know is the leaker of a viral video that now has the pentagon rethinking its rules of combat engagement n our play-by-play tonight you'll love to watch this, nuclear pen pals. watch as the presidents of the united states and russia sign a big nuclear treaty and then debate what to do next. we want to keep you posted, of
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course, on a developing story. we are waiting for a news conference down at the site of that mine tragedy in west virginia. an update on whether the rescue operation can resume. ♪
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if you were watching the news or get breaking news alesser on any of your pdas you know last night there was a suspected terrorist incident. for a brief moment in time a flight traveling from east to west had a disturbance on board and many thought it could have been terrorism. let's take a closer look.
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the flight started here in washington, d.c., and it was headed out toward denver. it was a united airlines flight and it was heading out. let's bring up the timeline and show you what happened. it took off 5:19 eastern time, departs ronald reagan. on the way out there was an incident on board the plane so fighter planes were scrambled at 6:45. at 6:50 the plane landed in denver. police were called in, the fire department was called in, there was a big scene on the runway. we now know what happened. if you were watching last night on the news or if you get tweets from major news organizations, there was all this talk, maybe another shoe bomb incident. police are investigating an incident on an airplane. major news organizations tweeting all this out last night. not long after the plane hit the ground it became clear something had happened on the plane but it was not a terrorism incident. today at the state department, you have a very unhappy spokesman. >> we have been in touch with the qatari ambassador a number of times over the past few
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hours. our ambassador has had conversations with senior leaders in the qatari government and we expect, you know, this situation to be resolved very rapidly. >> so what happened? a qatari diplomat on his way to denver decided the rules didn't apply to him. he went into the men's room and had a cigarette. then when he was confronted, he apparently made some joke that included a reference to a shoe bomb. no one was hurt. that is the key thing here. but guess what, when you scramble two fighter jets, that costs at least $15,000. at least $15,000. that's just the cost of the two f-16s going up in the air. you have the police, the fire and the other resources on the ground, so the question now is what happened? we do know this diplomat, and we'll bring him up here. the diplomat will not face charges, he has immunity anyway. mohammed al madadi. he will not face any charges. he could have been charged with smoking during a flight and for making what we'll call an unfortunate comment. he is going home, we are told.
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what would have happened if this were you or me or somebody like it? well, we know back in 2001 michael lassiter dashed past security guards because he was late to catch a flight. he spent five weekends, ten days and ordered to do 500 hours of community sentence. muhammed abu tais -- tahir got unruly. he could face fines between $14,000 and up to $250,000. you all remember the guy who slipped past security ropes to go back and kiss his girlfriend. he delayed and cancelled more than 200 flights. that could have cost more than a million dollars. his penalty, a $500 fine, $158 in court costs and 100 hours of community service. in this case the qatari diplomat goes home, no charges, still more questions. when we come back, we're going to look into mine safety. we're expecting a news conference at the bottom of the hour. officials in west virginia to tell us what next in the search for those four miners still
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unaccounted for. we'll take you there live and we'll also continue to explore the safety record of the mine where this tragedy occurred. one that's backed by a 100,000 mile powertrain warranty. and named a consumers digest best buy, two years in a row. discover malibu for yourself and see why over a thousand people a day are switching to chevy. during the spring event, qualified lessees can get a low mileage lease on this new malibu ls for around $199 a month. call for details. the switch to chevy starts at chevy dealer dot com. i don't think you can live the american lifestyle without energy. we have all this energy here in the u.s. we have wind. we have solar, obviously. we have lots of oil. i think natural gas is part of the energy mix of the future. i think we have the can-do. we have the capability. we have the technology. the solutions are here. we just need to find them here.
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wait, a senior safety and health specialist in the mine safety program at the colorado school of mines. thanks for joining us. i know you have looked through the records of this particular mine. 120 something citations this past year, 500 citations the year before that. you're an expert at this. from looking through the track record of this mine, what is your impression? is this a solid operator, a safe operator, an unsafe operator, a reckless operator? >> i think this is a very questionable operator. i don't know that i would say totally reckless, but he certainly is not paying a tremendous amount of attention to safety. if you look at the track record in 2008, he had something like 185 citations and that number more than doubled in 2009. something happened in that time frame there. maybe it's a management change, maybe it's more emphasis on production, but there certainly is a question as to why those numbers have citations went up
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so high. and the man hours were not that much difference that the employees worked so there is a question there as to the interest and the attention that that operator is paying to safety. >> and so when you look at them, some of them are minor infractions, but other citations are for more serious offenses, vept la ventilation issues, anything that jumped out at you that when you look at that, you see a ticking bomb? >> well, what grabs my attention very quickly is that over the past couple of years he's had 15 citations on his ventilation and six of them were in the last three months. now, something is happening here in the last three months to draw that many citations in such a short time. now, for your information, every mine operator has to file a ventilation plan and the regulations are very strict. there has to be so many cubic
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feet of air delivered to various places in the mine. the gas levels have to be down below -- the methane content has to be down below 1%. so my question is if he was getting this many citations, the ventilation system was not delivering that amount of air to those places and i would question if the ventilation system was capable of actually doing what the operator said it was doing and msha's citations could validate that question. >> i have a list in my hand of all the citations just this year and it's several pages long. one of the things the governor said today at a briefing this morning startled me. he said that when the rescue crews did get in for a brief period of time before they had to retreat, that some of the bodies were still sitting in the rail carts. the miners were still sitting up in the rail carts as if they were just expecting the normal course of events. the shift coming in rides that cart, the shift coming out rides that cart, but he said that scene, there was no evidence of any alarm, anybody running, anybody trying to get anywhere.
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when you have an explosion in your experience of this strength, of this depth, would there not have been a methane sense or some gas sensor that should have given them if only for a second some warning? >> well, you can install what we call minewide monitoring systems and these systems can be located throughout the mine and give you continuous readouts on methane content, carbon monoxide content, et cetera. i do not know if that mine had that. i suspect it probably did not. and that the gas ratings were being done with hand-held monitors. there was obviously a fire boss or a preshift inspection before the people went into the mine. if there were high gas concentrations, those should have been done. those records need to be checked in the book that you're required to record all the gas readings in. but it appears that the explosion just caught the employees by surprise.
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you know, if you have explosive mixture of methane, 5 to 15% by volume, it doesn't take much of a spark to ignite that. once you ignite the methane, then you take and put the coal dust in the air and if you get another concentration and another spark, then you get a really big explosion. but i would say that there was probably a pretty good buildup of methane in the air when that happened to trigger such a big explosion. >> and that helped me, because this miner is innocent until proven guilty, we need to put that out front and he can contest the citations which allow you to negotiate with the government and usually pay a much lower fine and some get tossed out. i was trying to get the congressman from the district on this last night. when you have a mine that has so many complaints about serious things, like ventilation and the like, what is missing from the safety system to allow a circuit breaker that says innocent until proven guilty, will contest the fines, but we need to stop
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production there because we have seen enough flashing lights that pet prifies us that something horrible is about to happen. why is the system missing that circuit breaker? >> well, there again that's an msha judgment call. msha has the authority to shut down any part of any mine at any time or the entire mine. why this was not done or why there was not special inspections done, why there was not a blitz maybe to take a look at that particular operation, i can't answer that question. msha would have to answer that question. but i'm thinking that probably with that number of citations and the questionable status of the ventilation system, especially where you have such -- so many sealed off areas, where those seals could be leaking methane, i would think that probably msha should have taken a closer look at what was going on in that mine. like i say, i can't answer that question why they didn't. >> bob, we thank you for your
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thoughts tonight. we'll ask you to stay with us. if we hear any developments from this news conference that you can help us with your expertise, we thank you very much. i thank you so much for having a sober view and walking us through this long list of safety violations and how we should interpret it as we look ahead. thank you very much, sir. if officials in west virginia stick to their schedule, we should be just a few minutes away from this evening's news briefing on the search for the missing miners. it is a very, very important briefing. four miners still unaccounted for, approaching 77 hours now since the explosion. their families are waiting. we're waiting for the latest developments. we'll be right back. [ male announcer ] parents magazine and
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today's most important person you don't know is somebody we can't name, because we don't know their identity either. it is the as yet unidentified leaker who posted video of u.s. helicopters strafing baghdad streets back in july, 2007. an accident that killed nine people, including two journalists from the reuters news agency. it showed up monday. the video then went viral, prompting an explanation from the pentagon that the helicopter
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crews had no way of telling the difference between the journalists' long-lens cameras and an ak-47 and that any group of military-age men could be perceived as insurgents and a threat from the helicopter deck. you know the old saying about the fog of war? whoever leaked this video helped clear up at least a bit of that fog and raised a lot of questions. joining me here in the studios, jessica yellin. out in the upper peninsula of michigan, our senior congressional correspondent, dana bash. politics in a second. but when a video like this leaks, it's just a reminder that our business has changed so much because of technology and social networking and the like that often, and this is not a bad thing, but often big stories come from different sources. >> it takes a little power away from us because we're not breaking it, but it gives so many people so much access and it makes it harder to be a closed government in some ways. >> let's turn to politics. dana, you're out in the upper peninsula of michigan. that's bart stupak's district.
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it is one of the laboratories in this fascinating political year in which you have all this volatility. you have the tea party. we see them rallying behind you. they tend to be more conservative, they tend to be anti-establishment, they think less of washington. >> reporter: that's an understatement. it really is the whole theme of what we're hearing here in the run-up. that's exactly what you're seeing. you're seeing a lot of signs here not just about voting out stupak and voting out obama. the theme is don't tread on me. specific message to government, anti-government. stay out of our lives. >> and it's one of the reasons that it's sort of hard for this organization to be either republican party organization tea party because the message "don't tread on me" the message you get when you're out there is a very anti-establishment, anti-party message. and as you know today michele bachmann was on our air saying the tea party is going to become part of the republican party. you just don't get that feeling when you're at these events. >> we don't know that because they don't like organization. they don't want to be part of
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the establishment. but dana, it's not just the tea party. bart stupak gets it from the right there. and again this is not the only district we see this in but he's a lung-term income bebt. senator bob bennett out in utah is getting challenged from the right as well. in this volatile climate, how do the incumbents find their way? >> reporter: seniority. that is what we are hearing more and more from people, certainly i have heard it over the past 24 hours talking to people here in the upper peninsula, especially people who support bart stupak. that is the one thing they say, look, we're frustrated with washington. many people here, obviously, are very frustrated with washington. but, you know, it's the old saying that they might be frustrated with washington, but happy about the things that their congressman bring back home. i want to actually play for you a sound bite from one of bart stupak's constituents who actually says that she is concerned about what would happen if there was a freshman in washington.
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>> we have a very owe pressed area here and historically it's been that way. and we would never, ever get the representation from anyone else in lower michigan that we will and that we have from bart. there's a lot of turmoil. and i think what we need now is somebody -- someone who has some experience. >> so the argument there that incumbency matters, you hope there are more and more of those people out there but in this climate it's hard to tell. and this is what makes this race interesting to me. the tea party movement we have seen they can be vocal, they can show up in good numbers and they can provide, and i don't mean this in any way as a criticism, they provide good political theater, good political drama. the question is can they move votes at the polls. in a sense they're raising a test for themselves. >> that's the big question. so far where we have the tea party weigh in on races, they haven't made the difference in
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primaries so far. but they could. one of the things that i think is fascinating, i think is that this is one of those districts where you're saying you have to actually campaign. you can't just go up on air and make a difference. that's because it's just so -- >> we're going to stop the conversation right here. we need to go to west virginia. this is the governor of west virginia, joe manchin, briefing us on the latest on the mine rescue effort. >> they're saying from msha and the companies that are testing all these, they're saying that basically they don't have the margin of safety right now to say that they can go. the number they're trying to reach and consistently hold and trend downward is 4.5. we're hoping that that will happen and hoping that will happen sooner than later. i will tell you that -- see if i have a marker. the two holes, as you know, hole 1 and 2 is done. they're on top, drilling on top of the rescue chamber.
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they're starting that drill. they'll be drilling the other hole that they can put the nitrogen down to inert this area, if need be. they're working on that. they're doing -- the other hole is coming right down on top of the other rescue chamber. so these all are being active right now. both fans are working in hole 1 and 2 and that's what we're seeing drop those levels. they're very encouraged by that. they're hoping hopefully that will be in the range as soon as possible. the rescue teams will be prepared to go as soon as they're allowed to go. they have also -- you heard them talk earlier, they found a roadway to get a small four-wheeler, which is the off roads, so they can get much quirk up into this area, and they're looking for permission to do that. they have applied for that with msha. also they'll be able to ask them that as they're going in for the rescue, that they can work back
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here for recovery. so everything is in place and hopefully everything has trended well enough and when it starts, they want to make sure because we've all asked the same question, well, if it's down below five, why can't you go now. we're not in a safety margin to where they're saying they're letting them go because if that 4.7, it might be 5 in some areas, and have to pull them back out. they don't want to repeat what we had happen to us this morning. so they're going to make sure they have that safety margin and then they tell me that anything from 4.5 and below is what they feel is still a certain amount of a risk but it's trending in the right direction. so with all that being said, that's basically the news we have right now. they're preparing, all the applications are prepared for the new plan to go in and rescue and to recover. we've talked to the families. you can imagine they're very anxious, if you will. it's going on our fifth day here. we're just moving as quickly as we can.
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we want to bring the loved ones back. so we're doing everything and everyone is working hard. yes, sir. >> when is the earliest you expect they might be able to go back in? >> this is purely speculation, okay. we were going to try to ask for having another briefing and i'll bring everybody down at that time probably in the 10:00 to 10:30 briefing, i would like to bring the news at that time that we have commenced and we're moving. we would like to have that happen. things are looking good. so we're moving in the right direction. we're very hopeful. >> sir, could you say whether one of the injured miners has been released from the hospital? we've been hearing that. >> i heard that too. i can't confirm it but i heard the same as you, but i haven't confirmed that yet. >> did you hear it from someone -- >> we've been listening there to governor joe manchin, the governor of west virginia. i have to say what he has told us so far is disappointing news.
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he says the rescue teams cannot yet go back into that mine because the methane gas or the toxic gas levels have not been reduced to the point where they believe it is safe enough for the rescue teams to go in. that is critical. while we know 25 miners were killed, there are four still unaccounted for. this morning the rescue teams got into the mine within 500 or 600 feet of the capsule if those four were able to make it into the safety capsule, that is where they would be perhaps. but they need to get back in. i want to bring back into the conversation bob ferriter, a mine safety expert joining us from colorado. bob, listening to the governor there, again, this is three days plus going on four hours, almost five hours since, and he said they need a new plan to find their way in. what does that tell you about this operation? >> that tells me that things are pretty bad, okay. if they're going to have to take and reevaluate their plan at this time, they have not getting the gas down as quickly as they
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should. in mine rescue efforts you want to protect the safety of the team because you'll have another ten or 15 people in the mine. you don't want to risk another explosion or anything like that, so i don't feel very optimistic right now. >> and did you get any sense from that that the governor was clearly frustrated. they drill these holes, a second hole and a third hole. is there a better way? obviously they're trying to go a thousand foot into a mountain side so maybe there isn't a better way. but should mines be required to have more drills on site? >> they could have more drills on site and a lot of mines put holes in the back of the long wall panels where they can exhaust the gasses that way so you don't have to take and bring them back through the mine. so surface bore holes at strategic locations to aid in ventilation is a practice that is used by many mines.
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apparently this mine doesn't use it. of course the deeper you are underground, the more costly it is to drill the holes. but having those holes there really improves the ventilation. so that's an option that operators consider all the time. >> bob ferriter with the colorado school of mines, a health and safety specialist. bob, thanks for your insights tonight. before we go to break, i want to foe to the magic wall and illustrate the point bob was making. here's a layout of the mine here. where the circle is, this is where the explosion took place. you can see the miners have been recovered. the rescue crews need to come in and they get their carts into about here. they were able to get this area this morning. again, to within about 500 feet of where the safety capsule would be, the rescue capsule inside the mine but they were unable to go deeper in because of the toxic gas. this is the layout here. this is called long haul mining. we will continue to monitor this development. clearly frustration on the
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governor's face and in his voice and clearly frustration with the families. rescuers yet to be able to go in to see if there's a miracle in the hills of west virginia. four miners still unaccounted for. we'll be right back. [ engine revving ] [ gorilla ] nice move. but can your retirement income keep pace with changing interest rates? this new variable anúéity from axa equitable has an option that can help your retirement income move with changing interest rates. but what do i know? i'm just the 800-pound gorilla in the room. [ female announcer ] make the retirement cornerstone annuity from axa equitable part of your retirement plan.
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one of the more fascinating things about this year's elections is the unpredictability out there. the tea party isn't the only wild card. this year incumbents are facing
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challenges from the left, from the right. joining us to talk about this, former mitt romney presidential campaign spokesman, jim madden and maria who served as deputy chief of staff to president clinton. she's now the with mvg. i want to focus on one race. there are a lot of incumbents facing challenges. one of the most interesting ones is blanch lincoln in arkansas. she's the chairwoman of the agriculture committee. she has senior standing. she has stature and yet she's being challenged from the left. i want to show you the lieutenant governor, bill hall. i think we have campaign footage. we can show you bill halter campaigning. and he's running. that's senator lincoln there, the incumbent. she's trying to be reelected and the democratic organizations that you think would help an incumbent senior member who can bring things home to the state, no. let's listen to an afl-cio phone bank saying don't vote for blanche lincoln.
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>> we're asking for your support for bill halter for senate this time. we're not supporting blanche lincoln. we're hoping we can count on your support. >> maria, we watched the tea party and the pressure it's putting on the right. why are we seeing more and more examples of this? >> well, i think it's obvious that we've got both parties having to deal with a spectrum of ideology. it's not one ideology, and i think with blanche lincoln, she is in a state that is one of those bellwether, swing, lots of red voters, conservative values, and i think there are a lot of people who are very, very angry that the health care vote was so, so hard and they're angry at blanche for making it so hard. >> you say angry at blanche. listen to her explain herself. remember, this is a primary elect rat. here's how she describes herself
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as she's campaigning. >> they are very pragmatic, very main street, middle of the road people, they want results. i guess that's one of the reasons you find i'm right there in the middle. i'm one of the moderates and i believe in getting results and i believe in working hard to get where we need to be in this country. i don't think you get there by catering to the extremes. >> boy, that is like a script for an incumbent. you know, moderate is not a good word right here when you're in a primary. i can't help but think, though, she's trying to -- senator lincoln is trying to strike a more populous tone in order to compete with bill halter. but it's just not in her style, usually, to go out there and be very hot so she's trying to hit it just right. by trying to hit it just right, it might be a little too cool for a lot of those primary voters down there. >> i want you to listen to lieutenant governor halter, who is using a word campaign style that we're going to hear a lot of, which i'll call it populism.
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>> i believe that one of the biggest impediments to continuing to do that is these special interest groups that i've been talking about. that stand in the way of the changes that we would like to see. people want to define this race as a left-right race and all this other stuff. that's not what this is about, at least for me. this is about who's going to stand up for average, middle class aur kansans against special interests when the time is necessary to do it. >> he doesn't mention senator lincoln but that's who he's running against at the moment so i guess he's saying she's the special interest. >> and it is so unfortunate because honestly she's in a tough race that has to do with the fact that she does come from a state that is moderate conservative. that she's trying to strike that balance. it's so easy to paint everything as special interests when in fact everybody has an agenda. i think what we found in the health care debate was that it
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was really hard to get some people on both sides to find -- to say we're going to compromise. and the fact that the vote ultimately in the house was as close as it was is what frightens me. it shouldn't have been that close. and it just shows how divided we are. someone like blanche lincoln who otherwise has some terrific -- she stands, she's a good democrat. maybe on this she shouldn't have been so hard to get. >> this will be one of those great races. sometimes primaries give you tougher candidates for the general election. sometimes primaries give you bruises that don't heal. we'll get a sense. at today's nuclear pen pals. i'm on an aspirin regimen now because i never want to feel that helplessness again. [ male announcer ] be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen. talk to your doctor, and take care of what you have to take care of.
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here comes the "play by play." back for the "play by play," major diplomacy, assigning ceremony in prague, the czech republic. i want you to see the russian president and the u.s. president, here we go, they're
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going to sign the treaty, they got this part figured out. now what? i guess we put them away. so i guess these events, you have been part of these events, they're scripted up to when you finish your name and then you don't know what to do. >> the fact that we're looking at this, come on, this is a big deal, this is a huge big deal. >> i'm sorry, it reminds me at the end of the movie "moon struck" when they say, somebody tell a joke, they don't know what to say. it is a big deal, the treaty is a big deal, the nuclear pos ktu deal is going to be a huge deal. >> it reflects that you forget that the camera is still on you, an you're supposed to cut away once you sign. >> here's a guy looking for a reset button, he's playing in the first round of the masters, he shot a four under par 68, so here's a guy who's reacting well
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to pressure. he comes back with a four under par 68, his first tournament back after, you know what. he's tied for first place. >> one thing that's going to change people's opinion of tiger and help them press the reset button again is a win at the masters. this is a golf story, it's no longer a personal story. >> are you a golf fan. >> not at all. >> do you follow the tiger drama, though? >> i'm not interested. >> that's why we want to know your opinion. >> next "pete on the street" with his take on the tiger woods come back.
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john is a ford and lincoln mercury service technician. very smart. we were just discussing the circumstances by which a person can find himself in four separate places at one time. i didn't really say that. but people come in here for tires, brakes, batteries and oil changes. so it's possible? yes. oh that's brilliant. buy with confidence. thanks to our low price tire guarantee. so, with everything you need in one convenient place why would you go to four separate places? now that's a good question. well, there you go. ah looks like somebody's a winner. ha, not me! cause shipping is a hassle. different states, different rates. not with priority mail flat rate boxes from the postal service, if it fits it ships anywhere in the country for a low flat rate. so shipping for the chess champ in charleston is the same as shipping for the football phenom in philly? yep. so i win! actually, i think you deserve this. no, i deserve this. wow, got one of those with a mailman on top? priority mail flat rate box shipping starts at $4.95,
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only from the postal service. a simpler way to ship. let's check in now with campbell brown for a sense of what's coming up at the top of the hour. >> in the wake of president obama signing the stark treaty today, we are looking at a very different and very frightening nuclear threat. what could happen to washington or new york if terrorists got their hands on a nuclear weapon. we're going to ask new york city police commissioner ray kelly how safe he believes our cities are. this is a focus of a new documentary now. and tiger woods as you have been talking about returns to professional golf. he finished his first round at the masters a little while ago and spoke to reporters just minutes ago. we'll have a live report from
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augusta and all the top stories at the top of the hour. >> see you in a few minutes. now this is where normally i would go out to "pete on the street." but pete apparently is just off the golf course, he's in studio, i don't know what to do. >> i was out at boston yesterday, i wanted to see you, i wanted to be in person and find out that you aren't a hallow gram, and do people forgive tiger? we went out and asked golfers and everybody else. >> yes! oh, that actually didn't make it off the platform. >> reporter: why are people more willing to forgive tiger for his philandering than politicians? >> tiger is clearly the most talented player out there. >> reporter: i don't really look up to athletes. >> reporter: who do you look up
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to? >> bob veillvilla. >> reporter: who do you do if you're tiger woo ee you're his wife? >> definitely kick him to the curb. >> reporter: do you forgive tying zbler he had 70 affairs. who cares? his wife, pga, america, my wife is very upset. >> my wife is upset. but guess what? we are men. >> reporter: what if this ball cheated on you? >> i would probably forgive it and hit it as hard as i could. >> reporter: would you forgive tying zbler i would probably forgive him. >>. >> reporter: would you vote for bo


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